Aging Well in the Gorge ~ November 1st, 2023

Ah, sleep – that “golden chain that ties health and our bodies together” as Thomas Dekker once said.

But what if that chain is worn and your body is not getting a refreshing good night’s sleep: you’re having difficulty falling asleep; staying asleep; waking up too early; or feeling tired during the day?

If you are having trouble sleeping, here are a few tips from the National Institute on Aging for developing healthy bedtime habits so you can get the seven to nine hours that most of us need to stay healthy and alert.

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening. That means no later than 3:00 PM and no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. A relaxing book? Soothing music? A warm bath?
  • Don’t watch television or use your computer, cell phone, or tablet in the bedroom.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Hopefully, both you and your partner agree on that temperature!
  • Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime.
  • And the obvious: stay away from caffeine late in the day.

There are also a couple of tricks to try if you’re having difficulty falling asleep.

  • Count slowly to 100 – and that doesn’t need to be sheep!
  • Relax your body by imagining your toes are completely relaxed, then your feet, then your ankles, all the way up the rest of your body. You may drift off to sleep before getting to the top of your head.
  • If 20 minutes after turning off the light, you’re still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. And then when you feel sleepy, which is hopefully before the sun rises, go back to bed.

If you find it hard to get enough sleep, feel tired, and are unable to do your activities for more than two or three weeks, it may be time to see a doctor to determine if you have a sleep problem and what changes you can try.

In addition, you may be interested in participating in a study by UC Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic. They are currently recruiting adults aged 60+ who are experiencing sleep problems to take part in a no-cost and brief online sleep coaching study. The program includes three sessions of sleep coaching by video once a week for three weeks. The study doesn’t involve the use of any medication, and they won’t ask anyone who is currently taking sleep medications to stop taking them. They are currently enrolling new participants, so if you are interested, call (510) 575-9319 or email

BRAIN TEASE: Two weeks ago, I shared a brain tease from a New York Times crossword puzzle: “What four-letter word has a bow that can never be tied?” Last week it was pointed out that it could be a rainbow – although it wouldn’t fit because it had more than four letters. But this week Gary VanOrman set me straight. He said a ship bow is tied by a hawser and anchored by a chain, so ship isn’t correct either.  But if you think WAY outside the box as Gary did, a four-letter word that has a bow that can never be tied is a BOWL. I can’t argue with that!

The name of the “Amazin” baseball team that won the 1969 World Series in their eighth year of existence and accomplished one of the greatest upsets in Series history was the Miracle New York Mets. I received correct answers from Anna Bolton, Jeanne Pesicka, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, Jess Birge, Donna Mollet, Dave Lutgens, Rose Schulz, and Lee Kaseberg – this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This actor was well known for his television roles as professional gambler Bret Maverick and private investigator Jim Rockford and also starred in more than fifty films. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this actor whose career spanned over six decades? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of him with Lois his wife for fifty-eight years!

Well, it’s been another week, staying warm under the covers. Until we meet again, as Mel Brooks once said, “Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.”

“Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”  Anthony Burgess

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted. Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

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